Major Robert F. Burns

90th Division, U.S. Army

 

War Letters from Europe

Normandy to Germany

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Letters from France

June 22, 1944
June 29, 1944
June 29, 1944 (2nd)
July 6, 1944
July 17, 1944
August 10, 1944
August 14, 1944
August 25, 1944
September 1, 1944
September 2, 1944
September 3, 1944
September 3, 1944 (2nd)
September 14, 1944
September 16, 1944
September 16, 1944 (2nd)
September 17, 1944
September 28, 1944
October 2, 1944
October 14, 1944
October 22, 1944
November 2, 1944
November 12, 1944
November 24, 1944
December 2, 1944
December 27, 1944

Letters from Luxembourg

January 9, 1945
January 16, 1945
January 20, 1945

Letter from Belgium

February 7, 1945

Letters from Germany

February 9, 1945
February 21, 1945
February 23, 1945
February 26, 1945
April 5, 1945
May 5, 1945

Letters from Czechoslovakia

May 10, 1945
May 16, 1945

Letters from Germany

May 19, 1945
May 20, 1945
May 24, 1945
June 3, 1945
June 22, 1945

Letters from France

June 30, 1945
July 3, 1945

Letters from Germany

July 14, 1945
July 27, 1945
July 30, 1945
August 3, 1945
August 14, 1945

Letters from France

August 26, 1945
August 28, 1945
August 29, 1945

Letters from Germany

September 9, 1945
September 11, 1945
September 13, 1945
September 15, 1945
September 17, 1945
September 23, 1945
September 27, 1945
October 1, 1945
October 9, 1945

Letters from France

October 13, 1945
October 15, 1945
October 22, 1945
November 5, 1945
November 17, 1945
November 17, 1945 (2nd)
November 23, 1945
November 30, 1945
December 17, 1945
December 17, 1945 (2nd)
December 18, 1945
December 26, 1945
January 2, 1946

Letters from Belgium

January 14, 1946
January 15, 1946
January 17, 1946
January 17, 1946 (2nd)

Letters from France

January 21, 1946
January 24, 1946

Namur, Belgium

January 15, 1946

Dear Mom,

Well, the berth was just right - not too hard, not too soft. I had to put on more covers though, and in so doing I discovered a tiny blue night light replaces the regular light except in the washstand where the normal lights stay on.

The train rode smoother than I expected with far less jerkiness than our own trains on starts and stops. I slept rather fitfully, however, partly, I suspect because I slept late the previous morning.

The porter came through at 6:45, to call us as the train was due at Brussels at 7:45. This gave me time to wash, (the water was quite hot) and eat some sandwiches Paulette fixed for me. Good thing too, for they had nothing at Brussels as they were supposed to.

We actually arrived at 8:00, so were too late to get the 0814 train for Namur as we had to change stations. An army truck took us over and we waited for the next train at 0945.

Brussels looked rather interesting from what I saw from the truck, but I didn't try to walk around as it was quite cold.

I rode 2nd class from Brussels to Namur. This too was not so bad. You entered the coach in a vestibule in the middle. On each side of this was a section with perhaps six or eight sub-sections. These latter consisted of huge double seats facing each other. They normally hold four persons, but the train was not crowded and just a Captain and I were in my part. We each had one big seat. The back rest extends above your head which makes the sub-division. There is one large window for the two seats much as in an observation car at home. Each seat has a built out portion which enables you to rest your head on a cushion instead of the window or train wall as on our trains. There is also a small curved stand built below the window for use as a table, etc. There was plenty of steam heat - so much in fact that I couldn't see the train when I first came on the platform. Steam smoked and sizzled everywhere, completely blanketing the cars although I was only a few feet away.

The countryside from Brussels to Namur is gently hilly, largely agricultural and dotted with small villages and farm settlements. It is possible to see more back yards here, which you never can in Paris and the effect is not unlike our own. Where there are any number of buildings they still are flush together. Occasionally, you see a lone building with blank side walls, built in anticipation of future close-crowded neighbors. However, many of the separate homes look somewhat like our own, more in the manner of German houses.

Some of the smaller communities are scarred by the war and Namur, in the brief glimpse I have had from the truck which brought me from the station, appears to be well battered.

The depot where I now am is not a camp as I feared but is an old Army barracks in Namur. I live upstairs of the officer's mess, which is quite convenient. At present I am again the only one in the room. There are lights and a good stove which an attendant keeps well stoked. The noon meal was fairly good: steak, potatoes, bread, butter, coffee and pastry.

My "processing" was complete in about ten minutes except for an "orientation" in the morning so i have nothing much to do now but wait for a call to the port. (We go out of Antwerp). I am too late for the shipment this week, so it will probably be the middle of next week before I go to the port and the end of that week or later before I sail.

I am fortunate in being a field grade officer in that I have no duties to perform. Company grade (captains and below) all have duty jobs to perform.

It is cold here but not much sign of snow, though I saw heavy frost on the fields this morning.

Love,

Bob

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